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ISLAMABAD, July 10 - The deputy chief of Lal mosque Abdul Rasheed Ghazi has been killed in operation silence launched against the militants holed up in the Lal mosque, the Interior ministry sources said on Tuesday. A bullet had hit in a leg of Ghazi during gunfire and he was also asked to surrender after he was injured but he refused and was ultimately killed, some sources said. Mr. Ghazi was killed in firing by some militants who were hiding along with him when he came out of a bunker and was heading to surrender, the other reports said
...Ghazi married into a moderate family and lived a relatively westernized life. He got a government job in the education ministry and also worked with UNESCO, the UN's culture organization. "Ghazi used to share jokes, often spoke in English, moved in mixed company and was an active student," said a university friend who asked not to be named. His father, Abdullah Aziz, who founded the Red Mosque, was so angry about his lifestyle that he handed over his property to his brother, current mosque leader Abdul Aziz. Abdul Aziz was caught last Wednesday trying to flee the compound in a burqa.
Ghazi completely changed after his father was shot dead inside the mosque by a lone gunman, thought to be from a rival Islamic group. He joined his brother Abdul, who took over the mosque in 1998 and nominated him as his deputy. Ghazi also established links with Pakistani intelligence services, who earlier had used his father and brother to help foster Islamists who would support the anti-Soviet "jihad" in Afghanistan and the subsequent rise to power of the Taliban.
When the 9/11 attacks took place in the United States, friends said no trace of the "old," westernized Ghazi remained. But he also began to move away from his state sponsors. Security sources said he had close links with pro-Taliban militants and agitated against President Pervez Musharraf's decision to back the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. [Full story>>thenews.com.pk ; See other details, aljazeera.net]
07.10.07 Iranian man stoned to death for adultery
TEHRAN (AFP) July 10 - Iran said Tuesday that a man convicted of adultery had been stoned to death in a village in northwestern Iran, the first time that it has confirmed such an execution in five years. The punishment - which involves the public hurling stones at the convict who is buried up to his waist - was meted out despite a directive from the head of the country's judiciary in 2002 suspending the practice.
07.10.07 Suicide attack against NATO forces kills 17
KABUL, July 10 - A suicide bomber with explosives strapped around his body blew himself up at a market near a convoy of NATO troops in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing 17 people, including 12 school children, and wounding 37, including seven NATO soldiers, officials said. The suicide bomber detonated himself near a convoy of NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops in Deh Rawood district of the southern province of Uruzgan, Mohammad Qasim, the provincial police chief of Uruzgan, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
"The bomber exploded himself in a crowded market in the centre of Deh Rawood, killing 17 civilians including 12 school children and wounding another 30 other passers-by," Qasim said, adding that the incident took place when a convoy of Dutch soldiers who serve under ISAF command in the province was passing by the area. [More>>khaleejtimes.com ; See related story, nytimes.com, July 10, "As war enters classrooms, fear grips Afghans." : The staccato of machine-gun fire pelted through the stillness. A 13-year-old named Shukria was hit in the arm and the back, and then teetered into the soft brown of an adjacent wheat field. Zarmina, her 12-year-old sister, ran to her side, listening to the wounded girl's precious breath and trying to help her stand. But Shukria was too heavy to lift, and the two gunmen, sitting astride a single motorbike, sped closer. As Zarmina scurried away, the men took a more studied aim at those they already had shot..
07.10.07 Hamas denies Abbas charges it is letting al-Qaeda enter Gaza
July 10 - Hamas officials Tuesday hotly denied allegations by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that the militant Islamic group letting al-Qaeda infiltrate the Gaza Strip, under full Hamas control since its defeat of Fatah last month. In an interview Monday with Italy's RAI TV, Abbas charged that al-Qaeda is moving into Gaza thanks to the support of Hamas.[More>>haaretz.com]
07.10.07 Al-Qaeda demanding Tehran stop supporting Iraq
CAIRO, July 9 - The leader of an Al-Qaeda umbrella group in Iraq threatened to wage war against Iran unless it stops supporting the democratically-elected Shiite government of Iraq within two months, according to an audiotape released Sunday. Abu Omar Al-Baghdadi, who leads the group Islamic State in Iraq, said his Sunni insurgents have been preparing for four years to wage a battle against Iran, AP reported.
07.10.07 Iran arrests 20 people accused of being spies
LONDON, July 10 - Iran has arrested 20 people, including some foreigners, near the border with Iraq and accused them of belonging to a spy network, the state-run news agency reported. The IRNA news agency did not provide the nationalities of the foreigners. Iran last month claimed to have uncovered spy rings organized by the United States and its Western allies. IRNA, quoting the head of the intelligence department in the Kerman Shah province, said the 20 were trained by intelligence services "of the enemy" for economic, military, political, cultural and social purposes. It did not elaborate. [More>>iranmania.com]
07.10.07 China executes former head of food and drug watchdog
(AP) July 10 - China today executed the former head of its food and drug watchdog who had become a symbol of the country's wide-ranging problems on product safety. Zheng Xiaoyu's execution was confirmed by state television and the official Xinhua News Agency. "The few corrupt officials of the (State Food and Drug Administration) are the shame of the whole system and their scandals have revealed some very serious problems," SFDA spokeswoman Yan Jiangying said at a news conference held to highlight efforts to improve China's track record on food and drug safety.
"We should seriously reflect and learn lessons from these cases. We should step up our efforts to ensure food and drug safety, which is what we are doing now and what we will do in the future," Yan said about Zheng and a separate case involving Cao Wenzhuang, the administration's former pharmaceutical registration department director. Zheng was sentenced to death in May for taking bribes to approve an antibiotic blamed for at least 10 deaths and other substandard medicines. Cao was given a death sentence last month with a two-year reprieve for accepting bribes and dereliction of duty. [More>>independent.co.uk ; See also xinhuanet.com]
07.10.07 Aral Sea's return revives withered villages
TASTUPEK, Kazakhstan, July 10 - In the cool of one recent evening, after tending to his herd of 19 camels, Puzblay Seytpembetov and four companions pushed his small single-engine boat out onto the placid waters of the Aral Sea to lay fishnets. In the morning, he predicted, he would haul in flapping carp and pikeperch. It is a daily task that until recently had seemed forever lost to the folly of humankind.
07.09.07 Bush denies Congress access to aides
WASHINGTON, July 9 - President Bush, invoking executive privilege for the second time in his clash with lawmakers over the firing of federal prosecutors, said today that he is refusing to comply with Congressional subpoenas for testimony from two top former aides. In a letter to the chairmen of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, Mr. Bush's counsel, Fred F. Fielding, declared that the legislative and executive branches of government were at an impasse. Mr. Fielding wrote that the president is directing the two aides — Sara M. Taylor, the former White House political director, and Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel — not to testify.
"The assertion of executive privilege here is intended to protect a fundamental interest of the presidency: the necessity that a president receive candid advice from his advisors and that those advisors be able to communicate freely and openly with the president," Mr. Fielding wrote, adding that in the case of the firing of federal prosecutors, "the institutional interest of the executive branch is very strong." The move was not unexpected. Mr. Bush said last month that he had no intention of letting Ms. Miers or Ms. Taylor testify. [More>>nytimes.com]
07.09.07 Four convicted over 21/7 bomb plot
July 9 - Four failed suicide bombers were found guilty today of an extremist Muslim plot to attack the London transport system exactly two weeks after the 7/7 bombings. After a six-month trial, Muktar Said Ibrahim, Yassin Omar, Ramzi Mohammed and Hussain Osman were unanimously convicted of conspiracy to murder at London's Woolwich Crown Court. They had claimed the bombs were fake and just a demonstration against the war in Iraq.
The jury of nine women and three men will resume their deliberations tomorrow on charges against two other defendants in the trial - Kwaku Asiedu and Adel Yahya - after being told by the judge, Mr. Justice Fulford, QC, that he would accept majority 10-2 verdicts. Ibrahim, Omar, Mohammed and Osman attempted to detonate hydrogen peroxide and chapatti flour bombs covered in shrapnel on three Tube trains and a bus on July 21, 2005, two weeks after 52 innocent people were killed in Britain's first suicide terror attacks. [More>>timesonliine.co.uk]
07.09.07 Bombing suspect left suicide note
LONDON, July 9 - One of the suspects convicted of trying to blow up London's transport system on July 21, 2005, left a suicide note, prosecutors said. The letter was written by Ramzi Mohammed, who tried to carry out a suicide bomb attack on an underground train near Oval station in south London. Here is the letter:
"First of all I beg Allah to accept this action from me and he to Allah to whom belongs the power and majesty makes it a sincere one and that he admits me to the highest station in paradise for verily he grants martyrdom to whom ever he wills. Secondly my family don't cry for but instead rejoice in happiness and love what I have done for the sake of Allah for he loves those who fight in his sake..." [More>>theaustralian.news.com.au]
07.09.07 Nine Iraqis killed in roadside bombing
BAGHDAD, July 9 - At least nine Iraqi army soldiers were killed and 21 more wounded when a roadside bomb struck their bus in the northern province of Salaheddin on Monday, security officials said. The attack took place near a village called Saeed Garib, on the southern outskirts of the larger town of Balad in Salaheddin, 75 kilometres (46 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraqi army Captain Mohammed Khalid said. "Nine soldiers were killed and 21 others wounded in the roadside bomb attack," Khalid said. An Iraqi defence ministry official in Baghdad also confirmed the attack, which took place at around 2:30pm (1030 GMT). [>thenews.com.pk]
07.09.07 Iraqi politicians call on civilians to arm themselves
July 9 - Prominent Shiite and Sunni politicians called on Iraqi civilians to take up arms to defend themselves after a weekend of violence that claimed more than 220 lives, including 60 who died yesterday in a surge of bombings and shootings around Baghdad.
The calls reflect growing frustration with the inability of Iraqi security forces to prevent extremist attacks. The weekend deaths included two American soldiers - one killed Sunday in a suicide bombing on the western outskirts and Baghdad and another who died in combat Saturday in Salahuddin province north of the capital, the US command said. Three soldiers were wounded in the Sunday blast.
Sunday's deadliest attack occurred when a bomb struck a truckload of newly recruited Iraqi soldiers on the outskirts of Baghdad, killing 15 soldiers and wounding 20, a police official at the nearest police station said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. Also Sunday, two car bombs exploded near simultaneously in Baghdad's mostly Shiite Karradah district, killing eight people. The first detonated at 10:30 a.m., near a closed restaurant, destroying stalls and soft drink stands. Two passers-by were killed and eight wounded, a police official said.
About five minutes later, the second car exploded about a mile away near shops selling leather jackets and shoes. Six people were killed and seven wounded, said the official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. [More>>independent.co.uk ; See related story, washingtonpost.com, July 9, "Iraq foreign minister warns of collapse if troops leave."]
07.09.07 Bird flu death toll reaches 81 in Indonesia
JAKARTA (AP) July 9 - An Indonesian boy died of bird flu, bringing the death toll to 81 in the only country regularly logging human fatalities from the virus, a health official said Monday. The 6-year-old boy died Sunday at a hospital in the capital of Jakarta, said Rumizar Rusin of the Health Ministry's bird flu information center. The boy fell sick on July 1 and was admitted to the hospital four days later, he said. [More>>thejakartapost.com]
07.08.07 I tried to warn Bush against Iraq war: Powell
WASHINTON, July 9 - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has revealed that he spent 2 1/2 hours vainly trying to persuade President George W. Bush not to invade Iraq and believes today's conflict cannot be resolved by US forces. "I tried to avoid this war," Mr. Powell said at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. "I took him through the consequences of going into an Arab country and becoming the occupiers."
Mr. Powell has become increasingly outspoken about the level of violence in Iraq, which he believes is in a state of civil war. "The civil war will ultimately be resolved by a test of arms. It's not going to be pretty to watch, but I don't know any way to avoid it. It is happening now," he said. He added: "It is not a civil war that can be put down or solved by the armed forces of the United States." The signs are that the views of Mr. Powell and other critics of the war are finally being heard in the Pentagon, if not yet in the White House. [More>>theaustralian.news.com.au]
07.08.07 'Foreign fighters' in Red Mosque
July 8 - Pakistan's religious affairs minister has said foreign Islamic militants are among those inside a besieged mosque in the capital, Islamabad. Ejaz-ul-Haq said "terrorists... wanted within and outside Pakistan" are fighting the army, which has surrounded the Red Mosque since last Tuesday. An army commander was shot dead by students inside the mosque on Sunday. The mosque's leader, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, said he and his followers would commit suicide rather than surrender. At least 20 people have been killed since the stand-off began. Mr. Ghazi told the BBC as many as 1,800 followers remain in the Lal Masjid mosque, although this cannot be verified. [More>>bbc.co.uk]
07.08.07 Al-Qaeda increasingly working in Iran - FT
LONDON, July 7 - Al-Qaeda operatives are increasingly using Iran as a base to carry out “terrorist operations” in Iraq and elsewhere, Britain's Financial Times reported on Saturday. One official described to the FT the al-Qaeda operation in Iran as a "money and communications hub."
07.08.07 Iran sees "creeping coup" in the press: report
LONDON, July 8 - Iran's Culture Minister Mohammad Hossein Saffar-Harandi said there were signs of a "creeping coup" in the Iranian press that involved individual journalists, a news agency said, four days after a daily critical of the government was banned, according to Reuters. Ham Mihan, a pro-reform newspaper that published in May, was shut by the authorities on Tuesday over a legal technicality. Critics saw the move as part of a broader squeeze on dissenting voices such as students, intellectuals and rights activists.
The government dismisses such charges, saying it allows free speech. Nevertheless, officials have spoken of a so-called "soft revolution," a perceived US effort to use intellectuals and others to undermine the Islamic Republic's system of government. "There are some signs of a creeping coup in the press," said Saffar-Harandi, whose Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry oversees press activities, Iran's student news agency ISNA reported. "When we say a creeping coup in the press, it means a person is moving within a framework of an action to overthrow (the system)," Saffar-Harandi said.
Activists and Western diplomats say the authorities have become increasingly intolerant of dissent, turning the screws on pro-reform students, campaigners on women's issues and labor movement figures. Journalists say they have to tread increasingly carefully between a growing number of "red lines" to avoid closure. Since 2000, Iran's Press Supervisory Board and judiciary have closed more than 100 publications. [More>>iranmania.com]
07.07.07 Shooting at Pakistan mosque foils Islamist mediators
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) July 7 - Explosions and heavy gunfire stopped Islamist politicians from entering a besieged Islamabad mosque on Saturday, on a mission to persuade a radical cleric to send out children among his hundreds of militant followers. The five-member delegation of religious conservatives blamed security forces for opening fire, when the cleric had already given them an all-clear to enter the Red Mosque, or Lal Masjid.
Hundreds of troops have besieged the fortified compound housing the mosque and Jamia Hafsa, a girls' madrasa, or school, since Tuesday when months of tension erupted into clashes. There were unconfirmed accounts of the mosque's defenders burying more bodies on Saturday, but so far the death toll is 20 following the death of a soldier in gunfire in the morning.
President Pervez Musharraf struck an uncompromising tone. "Those who are inside Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa should surrender, otherwise they will be responsible for the consequences of their attitude," he was quoted as saying by state-run Pakistan Television. Mosque cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the leader of a Taliban-style movement, has said he would rather choose "martyrdom," and has rejected government accusations that he is holding women and children as human shields.[More>>thestar.com.my ; See also thenews.com.pk, July 7, "Gunfire and blasts around Lal Masjid, Jamia Hafsa" : ...A boy of 13 years fled from the mosque complex through a damaged portion of the wall. "The people entrenched in the mosque have erected hurdles and stopped the male and female students of the seminary to leave," the boy told media after successfully fleeing from the mosque.
07.07.07 Pakistan Christians told to convert or face death
ISLAMABAD, July 7 - Islamist militants in Pakistan have threatened to kill 10 Christian clerics in Southern Punjab's Khanewal district if they did not "embrace Islam and stop preaching Christianity."
07.07.07 Jewish groups slam Vatican Latin prayer for conversion of Jews
(AP) July 7 - Some Jewish groups have complained about the prayer for the Jews contained in the old form of the Latin Mass, which is recited during the Good Friday service of Easter Week. The old prayer, contained in the 1962 missal of the Tridentine rite, read: "Let us pray also for the Jews that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us pray: Almighty and everlasting God, you do not refuse your mercy even to the Jews; hear the prayers which we offer for the blindness of that people so that they may acknowledge the light of your truth, which is Christ, and be delivered from their darkness."
The early church in Jerusalem, of the Apostolic Council led by Saints Peter and James, taught the opposite, that the Law of Moses was still valid and thus one's works were important to salvation. Jews are cursed if they depart from the Law of Moses, i.e., that they will be scattered and their land turned into thistles (See Deuteronomy 30; Zechariah 65.12; Isaiah 7.14-24). Thus, the early church could not separate their faith in Christ from the Law of Moses. Christ (the Messiah) did not replace the Law of Moses; Christ, in fact, said on many occasions that he had not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it, that not one tittle of the law would go unfulfilled. Christ is founded by that word (See John 7.16.."My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me" and his argument, "My father is greater than I.")
This point of view of Saints Peter and James can be best appreciated through their letters, such as:
So how is it that the message of redemption through the resurrection of Jesus Christ extended to Paul and Barnabas's conclusion that the Jews came to be cursed of God? We have seen the precept that Christ's New Testament replaced the Old Testament, how it equates to replacing the Old Covenant of the Law of Moses with the New Covenant of Christ. Paul and Barnabas pointed out that when Moses threw down the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments, breaking them, it broke God's covenant with the Jews. Here is how Barnabas saw it:
Through belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ one is engrafted to the holy people, and since the old holy people are in sin and cursed of God, the new holy people (Christians) are without sin and saved. Paul explains this:
Through grace you live in the Spirit of Christ. Thus:
Here we see the logic that God broke his covenant with the Jews. A new covenant is formed with the children in Christ who are the new heirs of God. We may compare this conversion with Jesus' beatitudes, specifically where he blessed the poor (Luke 6.20 ff.). Romans chapter 11 compares the new inheritance through Paul's Gospel to grafting a branch from a wild olive tree to a good olive tree and then points out how the new heirs have obtained mercy through their unbelief (Romans 11.30). To protect his gospel Paul concluded Romans with this passage:
Paul condemns the Jews, including the Apostolic Council led by Saints Peter and James in Jerusalem. Throughout his tracts Paul refers to them as the "circumcised" and "followers of the law" :
Saint Peter replied to this tract with the following:
Saints Peter and James wrote that faith without works is death and argued that the Law of Moses must be obeyed by the Jews and, until they granted special dispensation to Paul and his Gentile Church, the Gentile converts were to obey the law (practice circumcision of the males and respect the laws of cleanliness, to not eat pork, etc.). The church told Paul that they (the apostles in Jerusalem led by Saints Peter and James) would minister in the synagogues (to the Jews) and Paul could preach only to the gentile. Paul continued ministering in the synagogues and in Galatians Paul complains:
Here Paul shifts from a gospel of temperance and humility back into his gospel of intemperance: We suspect that the Apostolic Council would have understood this to mean that those who circumcise are the same as those who crucified Christ!
The argument against those who circumcise (honor the Law of Moses) was pressed by later church scholars. The first part of the controversy involved the "substance" (Gr. ousia) of God, where the Council of Nicaea concluded that God's substance involves three things: the father, the son and the Holy Spirit. The next great argument was that involving "Judaizing." Continuing Paul's argument against the Jews, Ignatius of Antioch (96 A.D.) wrote of Jesus Christ our God and:
By 200 A.D. Turtullian, considered to be the father of the Catholic Church, repeated Paul's complaint:
Tertullian takes his argument against the use of idols in the Church.
Saint Ambrose (~380 A.D.) expanded the argument to the observation that Christians had an obligation to warn the unrighteous and the importance of guiding kings and emperors and then, in the same epistle, he defends the act of setting fire to a synagogue, condemning the Jews "who denied God because they denied his Son."
Continuing the argument against Judaizers is Origen (185-254 A.D.)
The foundations of the early Church fathers became firmly entrenched by the time of Martin Luther, of the Protestant Reformation, who repeated the anti-Semitism of Saint Ambrose:
One cannot isolate a couple of documents used in the liturgy of a church or any other place of worship, thinking that they alone are anti-Semitic or anti-Buddhist, etc. In the case of anti-Semitism the foundations are deeply rooted and can be traced all the way back to the Apostle Paul. All Christian Churches - who preach the Gospel of Paul more than any other gospel - need to recognize and confess the implications of their teachings. Isolating one document in a liturgy only condemns the document; it is the teaching behind the document that needs to be addressed.
07.07.07 At least105 killed in Iraq village blast
TUZ KHURMATU, Iraq (AFP) July 7 - A suicide truck bomber ripped the heart out of a northern Iraqi village on Saturday, killing at least 105 people and demolishing dozens of homes and shops, police and medics said. Ambulances and private cars ferried dozens of bloodied corpses and wounded civilians to clinics in the nearby town of Tuz Khurmatu and the provincial capital Kirkuk, where desperate relatives waited for news of the missing. Officials were stunned by the scale of the blast, which devastated the main market in Emerli, a small rural community of people from Iraq's Shia Turkmen minority living in an area notorious for Al Qaeda militants...
A so-called 'surge' in American troop numbers, bringing the total in Iraq to 155,000, has allowed commanders to take back control of parts of Baghdad and reduce violence in a belt of towns around the capital. But there are signs that insurgent groups are shifting their focus further north to avoid these operations, and US generals say that the increased troop levels will need to remain in place for many months. [Full story>>khaleejtimes.com ; See also thenews.com.pk for the same report."]
07.07.07 Germany reports new case of bird flu
NUREMBERG (RIA Novosti) July 6 - Germany's leading institute for animal health Friday raised the bird flu alert level in the country to "high" after the H5N1 strain, potentially lethal to humans, was found in a domestic bird. The head of the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institute, Thomas Mettenleiter, issued a fresh report with recommendations for Germany's veterinary workers, citing the presence of the H5N1 in a dead domestic goose examined at Vickersdorf, Thuringen. Earlier, scores of wild birds killed by the virus had been found in the area.
France's Agriculture Ministry said Thursday that three wild swans found in the Moselle department had also died of H5N1. The reports come in the wake of a season of bird flu scares in Europe, with poultry farms in Hungary, Britain and the Czech Republic, and most recently of Germany's Bavaria and Saxonia last month, affected this year. In France, bird flu was registered last February in the Ain department in the east of the country. The authorities reacted promptly and contained the virus by culling or vaccinating all poultry on 11,000 farms. [>rian.ru]
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